Laminate flooring problems range from simple blemishes to serious manufacturing defects. Often these concerns are so similar in appearance that it takes a knowledgeable flooring expert to determine if it is manufacturing, site related or of other cause. Here we describe a number of those concerns. On other pages we talk more in depth about many of these and other types of laminate flooring problems.
Laminate Problems and Concerns
Delamination – Laminate Flooring Problems
When the surface layer raises from the print and core layers this results in delamination. Delamination may be seen in the field of the plank as a bubble. Delamination may also be found along an edge. When an area of delamination continues across the seam of the planks this is almost always a site related condition. When the surface layer alone is separating without any signs of moisture or steam related damage, this is often one of those manufacture related laminate flooring problems.
Core voids are manufacturer related flooring problems. Core voids are seen as indentations in the face of the laminate floor. The best way to tell a manufacturing core void from a dent caused by a dropped object is the absence of stress cracks. A dropped object usually leaves cracks while a core void does not. You should be able to identify some void still below the laminate face even though the face layer has collapsed into the core.
Bumps or Blisters in Laminate Face
Blisters are small bumps in the finish of the laminate floor. These bumps often look like a pimple and can be very difficult to see during installation.
Proud edges are seen as a difference in height at the joints of the laminate plank. Proud edges can be found on the side or end. Proud edges are a manufacturer related condition but are not necessarily laminate flooring problems. Most laminate flooring manufacturers consider proud edges up to 0.1mm acceptable and within manufacturing tolerance. Some manufacturers have different or expanded tolerances. As an example Pergo considers proud edges up to 0.2mm acceptable if they do not affect the appearance or function of the floor. Pergo also has tolerances that range from 0.1mm – 0.3mm. With all products standards may differ with varied conditions. The ANSI / NALFA recommended standard for thickens variation on residential and commercial laminate flooring is 0.50 mm (0.020 in)
Micro chipping is seen as continuous small chips along the edge of the plank. The chips usually appear white in color.These chips occur during milling of the laminate plank as the result of a dull milling tool. While the consumer may be of the opinion that micro chipping problems should be covered by the manufacture as laminate flooring problems – the manufacturer may only cover micro chipping that is severe enough. Even then they may not cover it if the chipping was so severe that the micro chipping should have been seen and the flooring not installed.
Color variations are laminate flooring problems but not necessarily the problem of the manufacturer. Some manufacturers state that there will not be a color difference between runs. When this is stated, a color difference between runs is the laminate manufactures problem. A color difference would be a difference in hue, shade or gloss. At times what appears as a color difference is actually the installation of two different colors of laminate floor. If the carton labels or plank markings show this to be the same style and color this is a manufacture related condition. If the packaging shows that the planks were different styles or colors the manufacturer will unlikely warrant the difference and this laminate flooring problem will be between the consumer and supplier or retailer.
Fading warranties differ with each manufacturer. Some laminate flooring manufacturers see fading one of the laminate flooring problems they will cover in their guarantee. Usually the fading will be limited to certain causes such as stating that their floor will not to fade due to sun or electrical lighting.
Gaps are among the most frequently seen laminate flooring problems. Gaps may be site related, installation related or manufacturer related. On narrow gaps a feeler gauge or coins can be used to measure the size of the gap. Tolerance is not the same for all manufacturers.
Voids or gaps in the glue are manufacturer related and will normally be seen as delamination. Gaps in the glue will allow moisture to penetrate at the seam resulting in swelling along the plank edges.